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Tour Resources: O’Keeffe Exhibition (Grades K-5) (Quick Tip)


Super Sized! (grades K-5, maximum of 50 students) FULL

Take a closer look at how O’Keeffe selected details from her environment for her large scaled paintings. Students will examine images from the artist’s perspective and explore how certain choices made a really big impact.

Download this handout for a complete list of standards, pre-visit activities, and post-visit activities created specifically for this tour.

Tour and Studio Programs

If Georgia came to North Carolina (grades 3-5, maximum of 30 students)  FULL

How would Georgia O’Keeffe have depicted our state? Explore landscapes, cityscapes, and flowers in the exhibition and create O’Keeffe-inspired art using local objects from nature.

Download this handout for a complete list of standards, pre-visit activities, and post-visit activities created specifically for this tour and studio program.

Pre-visit Activities 

Before your visit, consider doing one of the activities listed below to help prepare your students.

Meet Georgia O’Keeffe:  View a video of Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico talking about her inspiration and painting.

Matters of Size: Ask students to select an object in the classroom and discuss what would happen if it were 10 or 100 times its original size. Use a ruler to show what happens when a small object is 10 times its original size. How does changing the size of the object make you think about it differently?

Realistic, Abstract, or Non-objective art: Introduce students to the ideas of realistic, abstract, and non-objective art. See suggested definitions and links to examples of each from the NCMA’s collection.

  • Realistic art is art that is easily recognized because of its detail. The different parts of the subject are the same as you’d see in real life. They are proportional. Examples include Still Life with Glass, Fruit, and Jar by Circle of Francisco de Zurbarán, Winter Landscape by Joos de Momper II (the Younger), and Askew by Roxy Paine.
  • Abstract art is art in which you can recognize the subject (what is being depicted in the work), but some detail is removed or changed. Some things may be realistic, but other parts of work may be exaggerated or a different color, for example. Examples include Cebolla Church by Georgia O’Keeffe, Portrait of Emy by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Untitled (Standing Figure 5) by Nathan Oliveira, and Crest Masks (ciwaraw kun).
  • Non-objective art is art of lines, colors, shapes, forms, textures, or values that do not have to represent something in real life. You can’t recognize a specific subject, but the art can suggest an emotion or idea. Examples include Untitled by Joel Shapiro or Oriole by Gene Davis.

See New Mexico:  Look at photographs from the site Beautiful New Mexico from USA Today, 34 Photographs of New Mexico that will make you want to move there, or view a New Mexico Game and Fish Department video to see varied landscapes and people in New Mexico.

City Life: Show Radiator Building—Night, New York, 1927 and discuss how skyscrapers were new at the time O’Keeffe painted this cityscape. Skyscrapers were a source of pride for cities and demonstrated the best and newest design, materials, and technology available.

Post-visit Activities 

After your visit, consider doing one of the activities listed below to extend learning.

Zoom In:  Provide magazines, calendars, and other landscape images for students to choose from. Create a viewfinder by cutting a square or rectangle out of an index card or tagboard. Have students move the viewfinder around to select one small portion of the image, covering unwanted parts of the picture. What happens when you change the composition? Students could draw or paint this new cropped image.

Convince an Artist: Georgia O’Keeffe was struck by the landscapes she saw in New York City and New Mexico. What would you say about North Carolina’s landscapes or other natural wonders to a contemporary American artist to convince them to come here? Write a postcard explaining what makes North Carolina worth a visit. On the other side, draw or paint the place this artist should visit.

Make It Big: Provide students a selection of small natural objects (fake fruit, shells, rocks, leaves, etc.) to draw from observation using a viewfinder (see viewfinder instructions above). Model how to move the viewfinder around for different compositions so that the object is cropped by the viewfinder like O’Keeffe’s closely cropped still-life images. Have students draw objects on a piece of paper (12 x 18 inches or larger) so the object is much bigger than real life. Encourage students to pay attention to the subtle details in the object and how the light hits it (where it is darker and lighter).

Overcoming Fear: A well-known quote from Georgia O’Keeffe is “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life—and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” Use this quote to begin a group conversation using the following questions:

  • What does the quote mean to you?
  • When have you let fear keep you from doing something you’ve wanted to do?
  • Think of a time when you tried something new or took a risk and it was definitely worth it. What helped you take the leap?
  • What risks would you like to take as an artist in the coming month? What about in other areas of your life?

NOTE: The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art includes painting and sculpture by Georgia O’Keeffe and 20 emerging artists, selected for their individual approaches to the themes of flowers, bodies, still life, landscape, and abstraction. Some work contains nudity and may not be suitable for all audiences.